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Actor Lee Jung-jae plays a chilling evil

Posted July. 31, 2020 07:31,   

Updated July. 31, 2020 07:31


Lee Jung-jae, who pushes his own limits with every new character he plays, became “Ray” this time in “Deliver Us from Evil” directed by Hong Won-chan that will be released on Wednesday. This crime thriller follows Ray who hunts down and ruthlessly kills everyone around In-nam, a hitman played by Hwang Jung-min who killed Ray’s brother. Lee and Hwang worked together “New World,” which is thought to have expanded the definition of Korean noir, and this film has attracted much attention being the first film in seven years where they collaborated.

Speaking at a café in Samcheong-dong, Seoul’s Jongno District on Thursday, Lee described Ray as “a beast that hunts its prey.”

“Revenge for his brother’s death is not the only motivation for Ray’s killings of In-nam’s family and friends,” said Lee. “Revenge is an excuse. Ray is a beast that was looking for his prey, and his brother’s death gave him a good reason to go on a killing spree. My focus was to make the audience feel how cruel he is even if he does not do anything.”

Ray’s first appearance in the film overwhelms the audience, even more than when Prince Suyang appears in “The Face Reader.” With skinny cheeks and tattoos covering his neck, Ray comes to his brother’s funeral and looks at his dead body emotionlessly in his white long coat that reaches his ankles.

“It is important that you convince your audience from the first appearance,” said Lee. “It allows them to stay with the character throughout the movie.” He picked out an outfit for the funeral scene himself.

Some might say Lee can be easy on himself now. After all, he starred four movies that were watched by more than 10 million viewers and played various characters as a lead or supporting actor for the past 20 years. However, he still pushes himself to play a role that he has never played.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com